The Glory of God -- By: Tom Austin

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 04:2 (Spring 1995)
Article: The Glory of God
Author: Tom Austin


The Glory of God

Tom Austin

As we approach the doctrine of the glory of God, we realize immediately that we are broaching a subject which is potentially nebulous and unclear. For the glory of God is not an attribute or a perfection of God to be observed and documented such as we see in systematic theology or in the books specifically describing the attributes and names of God. It would be difficult for the glory of God to be handled this way, for it encompasses all that He is and does. It is essential and co-natural to the Godhead so that He cannot be God without it. 1 For He “is the God of glory” (Acts 7:2). Thus it is God’s purpose to glorify Himself (Eph. 1:3–11). Furthermore, according to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, glorifying God is also man’s chief end. As J.I. Packer has said: “All serious Christian thinkers acknowledge that glorifying God is at once man’s divine calling and his highest joy, both here and hereafter.” 2 And it is to this end that we approach our study of the glory of God.

Our aim in this study is to come to understand: What is the glory of God? How does He glorify Himself in His being and in His acts? How is He glorified in Christ? How do His elect glorify Him or detract from His glory?

The principal word for glory in the Hebrew is kabod. Literally it means “to be heavy,” thus giving the idea that the person having glory is “heavy” with position or power or wealth (e.g., Gen. 31:1). It is used to signify anything that renders respect or praiseworthiness. This gives the word a very broad range of meaning. More specifically, E.F. Harrison explains that “kabod also denotes the manifestation of light by which God revealed Himself, whether in the lightning flash or in the blinding splendor which often accompanied theophanies” 3 (Gen. 24:17; Ezek. 1:27–28). Occasionally kabod was given a deeper meaning denoting the person or self, as when Moses, seeking a special manifestation of God, asked of Him, “Show me Thy glory” (Ex. 33:18). 4 In both the New Testament and the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek word doxa

was used because it signified honor or reputation. With reference to God, it denotes maje...

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